5 Questions with Emmy winner Michael Emerson about “Person of Interest,” “Lost” & more

Two-time Emmy Award winning actor Michael Emerson is heading into the final season of the CBS hit show, “Person of Interest,” and we caught up with him to talk about his approach as an actor, what keeps him grounded, and of course, the cultural juggernaut that won him an Emmy and millions of fans, “Lost.”

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Photo by Jean-Claude

After four seasons, how do you keep “Person of Interest,” well, interesting?

It’s a little up to me as the actor but it’s mostly up to the writers to write compelling stories. Every actor’s battle on a long-running series is how to fight to overcome fatigue. You have to learn how to marshal the focus to make it through the long days and shooting. In front of the camera, you’re able to make things interesting with how you pace the character and hopefully bringing surprise to the role.

You’ve been acting for a long time. How do you stay inspired and driven?

My approach to each day is enjoying the problem solving dynamic of a scene. I’m a tradesman and I bring my tool kit to make each scene and line and action work along with the director and the other actors and the cameraman. I never get tired of that process. I think you have to love that process as an actor.

“Lost” has been off the air for years but still has an incredibly passionate fan base. How do you the continued recognition from “Lost” but also focus on the work you’re doing now?

If someone comes up to me and tells me they loved “Lost” and want to know what I’m doing now, I certainly tell them. Mainly, I’m just happy people are still watching “Lost,” which a lot of people are. There are many people who just finished the show, who weren’t old enough to watch it when it aired originally and that’s exciting.

Twenty five years from now, there will be episodes of television when I was young and energetic [laughs] and that’s great. I don’t mind being connected to “Lost” for the rest of my life, as long as it’s not the only thing I’m connected to.

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Emerson in “Lost”

Outside of acting and your craft, what keeps you grounded?

My family because they’ve known me forever. My friends because they’ve known me forever. The world of theatre because I consider that my natural home that keeps me thinking about the craft. A really good play reminds me of why I do this. There’s a real magic in that because it’s live and it happened before our very eyes. And [my wife] Carrie Preston keeps me grounded. You can’t get full of yourself when you’re around her. [laughs]

This is the final season of “Person of Interest.” What should be we be looking out for you in after that?

I’m looking out for it too. I’m curious to see what comes along next. Maybe a play I can’t resist? Maybe guest spots? I’m not of the mind to do another network show with 22 episodes because it’s just too long of a process.

Interview by Ryan Brinson
Header photo by Jean-Claude
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